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TEDCO gives $1 million in seed funding to companies

In this Sept. 24, 2013, file photo, freshly-cut stacks of $100 bills make their way down the line at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas.(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

In this Sept. 24, 2013, file photo, freshly-cut stacks of $100 bills make their way down the line at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas.(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) announced $1 million in seed funding Wednesday, disbursed among 10 different companies.

TEDCO uses the Seed Investment Funds for companies less than five years old with less than 20 employees.

“TEDCO’s Seed Investments fuel Maryland companies in their effort to develop and commercialize new technology-based products,” said George Davis, TEDCO’s CEO, in a statement. “TEDCO’s investment really makes a difference in helping them to become winners and propelling them to greater things, such as follow-on investment, job creation, and sustainability.”

The $100,000 the companies get can seem small compared to expanding companies like ZeroFox, which finished a $40 million investment round earlier this month. But for the companies receiving the TEDCO seed funding, the money can be critical.

Arbit, a social media polling company, had only raised $175,000 before receiving the TEDCO funding.

“Luckily Alex (Bullington) and I are both CPAs so we’ve been able to balance the budget pretty well,” said Greg DiNardo, one of Arbit’s co-founders. “We were able to stretch that out pretty far.”

But while they were able to stretch the budget, the pair had to spend as much time focusing on fundraising as they were on developing their app. DiNardo estimated they spent 30 hours a week fundraising and 30 hours a week on the rest of the company.

“Sometimes we joke and say we’re professional fundraisers,” he said. “You have to be on the ball. You can’t be hiding behind the computer screen.”

Arbit allows companies to create polls, with pictures, to share on social media and other websites. Since launching last year, they have been focusing on allowing greater back-end analytic support for companies.

The company has also grown to more than 100,000 users.

“We weren’t doing too much marketing and I guess it kind of spread through word of mouth,” DiNardo said. “Right now we’re focused on making some improvements to the app.”

Arbit previously received funding from NBA players Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver. In the last couple of months, the company added Caron Butler and Ty Lawson as NBA investors.

With that money and the new funding from TEDCO, DiNardo said he hopes they can focus more on building the app.

Forty percent of the TEDCO funding will go towards development. Another 40 percent will go towards marketing. The final 20 percent will help cover general business expenses.

And, for the first time since starting the company, DiNardo said, he and Bullington will take a salary.

The nine other companies to receive TEDCO funding were:

  • PerCredo Technology Solutions, a cybersecurity company based in National Harbor;
  • Aperio Health, INC., a health care software company based in Baltimore;
  • Machfu, Inc., an internet of things company based in Germantown;
  • Vista Research Group, Inc., a behavioral health company based in Annapolis;
  • Blue Sources, LLC, a biomonitor device company based in Frederick;
  • Javazen, a coffee company based in College Park;
  • TeamedOn International, Inc., a therapeutics data company based in Gaithersburg;
  • Atomic Mole, an internet-of-things cybersecurity company based in Rockville; and
  • SecondWrite; a cybersecurity company based in College Park.

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